Ashes, Ashes, we all…

 In girlsweat, Sweatn' It, sweatn'it girl

Ashes, Ashes, we all…

…fall down? Not quite. Rather we rise up out of the dust and cleanse ourselves of our sins. 40 days of sacrifice and fasting. 40 days of living as Jesus did.

The term Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten which means spring. Very interesting the timing and all with Easter being in spring, right? Many moons ago, the months of March to May were called Lent in Old English. Flowers were “springing” out of the ground and the Earth was filled with new growth. It really is all so poetic and seemingly right out of a romance novel.

Another little piece of history for your lesson today-
Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20th.
So if your calendar fails you, you may fall back on your knowledge of the lunar cycles to determine the date of Easter every year.

I don’t know anything about the history of the other seasons so you may be dismissed from History class now.

“Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become” Hal Elrod

This is only my fourth year celebrating Lent and receiving my ashes but it has become one of the manyCatholic traditions that I cherish. I have begun to embrace it every year with a bit of hesitation, awareness, and an honest to Jesus admittance of excitement that Easter is coming and therefore so is Spring!!!

This morning I gathered at Mass with my friends, my kids, and all of their friends to receive our ashes. I chuckled to myself as I looked around that these same adults that I have kid free nights out with are the same adults that have all come together today to pray and make commitments to ourselves that we will try to do better. Minus the loud celebration, it’s almost like we have gathered to renew our New Year’s resolutions. Apparently, we adults need more than one opportunity to commit to a better way.

In addition, there was an entire student body there dressed in Catholic uniform fidgeting through hymns. On the far side the pews are occupied by middle school aged kids who are much less excited to consciously admit their sins and even less comfortable speaking with their parents about them. We need to listen when they speak. In the middle are what I like to call the “tweenagers”. God bless this group. I have one of them. The are a bit awkward and super silly. They are also intelligent and about to burst with growth. They know right from wrong but have a hard time exploring options of self refection on their own. The last group is super special and also sing the loudest. I have one of these. On the road to learning right from wrong, they blindly drive on autopilot. Bouncing off objects and immediately detouring at every dead end- they live a life almost free of intentional sin and hate. We should all try harder to tap into that little person part of our hearts every day.

So what about me? Where do I sit in the pew? Many days I sit with the middle schoolers feeling a bit unsettled with my thoughts and looking for a sign. Some days I open up to new opportunities and proceed with less caution with the “tweeners”. In seemingly fewer moments, I laugh with every inch of my body and forget to worry right next to the youngest at heart. I love that feeling which has led me to my own Lenten promise.

I have two. I am giving up one aspect of my daily life, but I am also committing myself to another. One I enjoy but don’t need and the other I enjoy but don’t do enough. So for forty days, I will make the switch.

I think I will survive it.

It think it just might change me.

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